Title: Olivia Twist
Author: Lorie Langdon
Genre: Fiction, Romance
Description (from GoodReads):
Olivia Brownlow is no damsel in distress. Born in a workhouse and raised as a boy among thieving London street gangs, she is as tough and cunning as they come. When she is taken in by her uncle after a caper gone wrong, her life goes from fighting and stealing on the streets to lavish dinners and soirees as a debutante in high society. But she can’t seem to escape her past … or forget the teeming slums where children just like her still scrabble to survive.
Jack MacCarron rose from his place in London’s East End to become the adopted “nephew” of a society matron. Little does society know that MacCarron is a false name for a boy once known among London gangs as the Artful Dodger, and that he and his “aunt” are robbing them blind every chance they get. When Jack encounters Olivia Brownlow in places he least expects, his curiosity is piqued. Why is a society girl helping a bunch of homeless orphan thieves? Even more intriguing, why does she remind him so much of someone he once knew? Jack finds himself wondering if going legit and risking it all might be worth it for love.
Olivia Twist is an innovative reimagining of Charles Dickens’ classic tale Oliver Twist, in which Olivia was forced to live as a boy for her own safety until she was rescued from the streets. Now eighteen, Olivia finds herself at a crossroads: revealed secrets threaten to destroy the “proper” life she has built for her herself, while newfound feelings for an arrogant young man she shouldn’t like could derail her carefully laid plans for the future.
- Flowery and underdeveloped writing (see rant post here)
- Super perfect characters with no personality
- Predictable and gross instalove story
As a child, Olivia Brownlow masqueraded as a thief named Oliver. Now, Olivia lives a high-society life with her uncle. But when a young man from her past reappears, her future is threatened.
Would it be cruel to say that this is one of the worst books I have ever read? Because it’s rather unfortunate that I don’t really have anything positive to say about this book. I suppose if I had to, I would mention that this was an incredibly easy read, but only because there isn’t any complexity to the story, characters, or writing.
Ultimately,this book is riddled with undeveloped writing. At best, it’s cheesy, overly descriptive, and full of cliches. I mean, the author wrote this lovely number:
“Whiskey, govnah?” A serving girl leaned into Jack’s face, her ample bosom blurring as it threatened to spill out of its laces. His gaze flicked from her chest to her face, and he reared back in his seat (106).
And honestly, that’s one of the less cringy excerpts from the novel. In essence, this felt like something I would have read on fictionpress in the early 2000s. Those were some dark times (just kidding– it was a great place to grow as a young writer).
But even though I hated the writing from the first page, I decided to keep reading. Surely, this book would have something redeeming about it. After all, I hate Sarah J. Maas’ writing, but I love A Court of Thorns and Roses.
Unfortunately, I didn’t find something redeeming. Instead, I was confronted with flat characters and a predictable plot.
The two main characters, Jack and Olivia, are essentially Gary and Mary Sues. Olivia was supposedly an independent and tough lady who grew up on the streets, yet she manages to act like a fragile little lady who faints after eating one too many tarts (seriously. Is this a thing?). So she’s essentially strong, feisty, and incredibly beautiful. But even better–she has an oh-so-tragic past that she has to keep secret. This makes her simply irresistible. And then there’s Jack. The dashing bad-boy who also has a tragic past, but is really just gentle, romantic, and loyal.
Naturally, the two characters fall in love instantly. There’s some danger, of course, but it’s all cheesy and predictable. If it isn’t predictable, it’s just incredibly ridiculous. It’s all just gross.
But the biggest problem isn’t found in Olivia Twist’s writing, characters, or plot. It’s that this book didn’t feel even remotely like young adult literature. Instead, I felt like the author was writing under the assumption that a teenager can’t handle complex language, ideas, or plots. Everything felt fluffy and watered down. At best, I would say this felt like middle grade fiction (and even for that, I would still give this book a bad rating).
In the end, the only thing I liked about this book was that I didn’t have to spend too much time reading the damned thing.
P.S. I created an instagram. See the sidebar on the right if you’d like to follow me. 🙂